This week I was able to spend some time with our campers exploring the concepts of balance. We started our time out on our challenge course working with an exercise called the whale watch. It is basically a large teeter-totter platform, probably about 12 feet long and about 6 feet wide. The traditional objective of the exercise is to have a group of campers stand on the platform and figure out how to balance the platform without either end touching the ground. The campers need to act as a team and utilize strong communication skills in order to meet the objective.
This week, after using the platform in the traditional way, we altered the game a little bit. We looked at the exercise in the context of Mark 12:30, which states, ‘and you must love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your body.’ We wrote those four categories of heart, soul, mind, and body on the four corners of the platform. Then the campers were asked to name a method of loving God and then stand on the corner of the platform that represented that method. When all the campers were standing in a corner we noted that the platform was not balanced, one of our edges was heavier than the other. After more discussion we were able to make some adjustments and get our platform to balance off the ground once again.
Our exercise was followed by a discussion on what it means to find a balance in our own lives. What happens when we pay more attention to one of the four corners at the expense of another corner? What happens when one edge of our life is hitting the ground while another edge is high in the air? In much the same way as our balance platform, if we are not intentional in our lives, it is easy to get things out of balance. On the other hand, if we pay attention to what is around us, and are able to make some adjustments, a balance can be found.
The next verse in Mark calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Without maintaining a balance in our lives, loving ourselves is difficult, and therefore it is difficult to love our neighbors. We are all interconnected, and when we work together to find balance, sharing the love of God works much better!
~ Rev. Nathan Athorp